With the US 2020 Presidential elections just months away, you’re probably doing your research on who to vote for.
Fortunately, this time around, the race is already narrowed down to two leading candidates: Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders.
Despite Trump’s impeachment scandal at the start of the year, he remains in the race seeking re-election.
However, according to recent polls, Sanders remains ahead of the race by mere points:
If you want to know everything there is to know about Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders, let’s start with how the two got into politics:
Who is Donald Trump?
Well, this should be a rhetorical question. We all know who Trump is.
As the 45th sitting President of the United States, Trump is known to go big. As a former real-estate developer and producer of the reality TV show “The Apprentice”, he announced his candidacy to the presidency in 2015.
Trump is currently married to his third wife, the first lady of the United States, Melania Knauss.
He has a total of 5 children – 3 of whom are from his first marriage with Ivana Zelnickova and help him run his real-estate business today.
Trump has a daughter named Tiffany from his second marriage with actress Marla Maples and a son named Barron William Trump with Melania.
To know more about Trump’s life history, check out the BBC’s guide on how Trump went from being a hotel developer to securing one of the most powerful positions in the world.
Who is Bernie Sanders?
Perhaps the Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders debate is so controversial because the two personalities are complete opposites – both as politicians and in their personal lives.
Sander has been a politician from the start, establishing his political career in Vermont by successfully completing 4 terms as mayor of Burlington.
He then moved on to national politics where he won a seat in the House of Representatives, initiating his career as one of America’s first independent legislators.
Sanders ran for the last presidential campaign in 2016, fighting for much-needed issues within America but later dropped out of the race and nominated Hilary Clinton.
4 years later, he sparked interest among many citizens when he announced his candidacy in the upcoming 2020 elections.
Perhaps the reason why he is loved by citizens across the country is because of how his childhood and upbringing inspired him to fight against crucial issues faced by the average American.
Sanders grew up in Brooklyn as the younger of two sons to Jewish immigrants from Poland. His father was a painting salesman, which exposed Sanders to the struggles of an average working-class family.
According to him, this was a major inspiration for his political career:
“It was a question for me of just basic justice – the fact that it was not acceptable in America at that point that you had large numbers of African-Americans who couldn’t vote, who couldn’t eat in a restaurant, whose kids were going to segregated schools, who couldn’t get hotel accommodations living in segregated housing. That was clearly a major American injustice and something that had to be dealt with.”
Who to vote for: Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders?
Speaking from an objective point of view, statistics show that Trump does not have a great reputation as President whereas Bernie Sanders is a politician many Americans look up to. However, let’s take a look at what Trump has done for this country in his 5-year tenure as President:
- Employment: It’s obvious that President Trump has used his experience in the business sector and applied it to improve the country’s economy. Payrolls surged in 2019 despite economic outlooks and the slowest-paced wage group saw an increase in wage growth i.e. the lowest 10% earners saw a 7% increase in wage rates while employees without a high school diploma saw 9% increase in wages last year.
- Trade war with China: The ongoing US-China trade war has cost the US economy trillions of dollars in losses because of the ban on Chinese manufacturing products that are essential for the production of finished goods. However, President Trump imposed tariffs that forced the Chinese Communist Party in a bargaining position; thus, boosting the economy towards growth.
- Immigration and border control: While many citizens and experts criticise Trump’s harsh policies on border control, the truth of the matter is that his policies averted crisis near borders and found a solution to the refugee problem: Mexicans could seek asylum by applying from their own country rather than trespassing illegally over the sovereign border.
- Military: Trump’s establishment of Space Force is a little-known fact that protects American soil as well as the economy far into the future with the use of satellite imagery. The President signed a $780 billion bill which established the 6th branch of US Armed Forces.
- Natural Gas Exports: Another huge establishment by Trump was turning the country into an LNG exporter, something that was last seen in the late 1800s. Not only that, but there was a 60% growth in LNG exports in 2019.
- Al-Baghdadi Killing: America is known for its war against terrorism since the start and President Trump ensured this war would continue as American forces shot down the terrorist Abu-Bakar al Baghdadi. The surgical strike successfully avoided massive bloodshed, something that other presidents were not able to control.
- Justice System: Trump completely remade the federal justice system into one that is originalist as well as constitutionalist. He managed to appoint 2 Supreme Court judges and 187 federal judges to the bench as lifetime appointments. He also appointed 50 judges in US circuit courts in just one tenure whereas former President Obama appointed 55 in two tenures.
- Tax reforms: President Trump provided relief to middle and lower-income groups by slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.
- Trade deals: Trump signed deals with Korea, Japan and Beijing as well as neighbouring countries to improve trade and boost the country’s economy.
- First Step Act: The First Step Act was termed ‘the first legislative victory’ for advocates seeking to reform the criminal justice system. The bill addresses mass incarceration at the federal level. It reduced the disparity between cocaine and other powder offences and overhauled several federal sentencing laws that reduced sentences and expanded early-release programs.
Since Bernie Sanders did not have the same position of power and influence that President Trump, it’s hard to compare Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders accurately.
However, as an important member of the House of Representatives and independent legislator, Sanders was able to achieve a lot in his career as well:
- Minimum wages: Since the past 4 years, Sanders has been fighting to increase the minimum wage per hour. With the help of workers at Amazon and Disney, he managed to get a wage rise for 400,000 workers in over 7 states a minimum wage of $15 per hour. If elected as President, he promises to make this minimum wage mandatory nationwide.
- Healthcare: Sanders worked with Democratic Representative of South Carolina, Jim Clyburn, to introduce the Affordable Care Act which instated $11 billion dollars for community healthcare centres that provide primary healthcare to 9 million Americans.
- Banking industry: In 2009, Sanders worked with Senator Charles Grassley to introduce a bill that prevented banks which took taxpayer bailouts from replacing laid-off U.S. workers with lower-paid foreign workers. Later on, he proposed legislation in 2013 to prevent the biggest banks in the industry to have oligopolistic control over the market. However, bankers blocked this bill, but it showed Sander’s efforts on creating an industry that protected smaller firms.
- Climate change: Sanders has been fighting to recognise climate change as a national security crisis since the past 4 years; meanwhile, President Trump’s stance on how global warming could wreak havoc on the US economy is, ‘I don’t believe it’. For many citizens like Greta Thunderbrug who are concerned about the increasing climate change and the measures done to control it, Sanders promises a change in policies to minimise the impact of global warming.
- Taxes: Since Sander’s main ambition was to create equality in a society which a small portion of the rich benefited from, he did a lot of work in this sector as well. He worked tirelessly to oppose tax breaks and tax cuts for the wealthy. In the administration of President Bush, this bill was passed without Sander’s vote. However, under the same administration, the bill was overturned on New Year 2013 and tax breaks were imposed on the 1% of wealthiest American wage earners. Sanders also proposed a progressive tax package so that the wealthy so that there would be a more balanced budget in the economy.
- Pensions: The Bush administration allowed corporations to cut pensions of older workers by as much as 50%. However, the House of Representatives along with Sanders pushed to prevent this bill from being passed. In addition to this, Sanders also passed an amendment to prevent the Bush administration from working to overturn a federal district court ruling that IBM’s pension cuts violated age discrimination laws; this amendment helped 130,000 IBM workers regain $320 million in pension benefits which had been taken away from them.
- Land Grabbing: Sanders passed an amendment which was approved as a bill and signed into law, providing dairy farmers $350 million in relief. Poor farmers were being driven off the land which had been in their family for generations by huge dairy conglomerates and this money helped them in their daily struggles to survive and take control of their land.
- Keystone XL: Not only has Sanders voiced his concerns on increasing climate change, but he has also used his power to reverse it. He opposed a bill to bring the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring some of the dirtiest oil in the world from Canada’s tar sands region in Alberta to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas.
In the race of Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders, choosing between the two is a clear choice for most citizens. Sanders is a politician that fights for the rights of individuals and groups without power in the country and his main goal is to bring equality and justice to all.
Trump, on the other hand, focuses on more large-scale issues that affect the country overall. He may take bold decisions that have repercussions to some but they are largely in the interest of the country.
Both politicians have done their fair share for America, and while Trump may have received a negative reputation in terms of his personality, the million-dollar question is – if Bernie Sanders is elected, will he focus on the issues that he is now or will he be able to make decisions that are in the interest of the entire country, even if they may harm smaller groups?